5 Ways to Make Homeschool Travel Budget Friendly

5 ways to make homeschool travel budget friendly

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When it comes to homeschool travel, it can get costly if precautionary measures aren’t taken. Luckily, making homeschool travel budget friendly is possible and can be very easy to do!

My family and I love to travel. We’re all about new experiences and enjoy learning as we travel. It’s one of the reasons homeschooling is such a great fit for us! If there’s an opportunity to actually visit an important spot in history, for instance, instead of “just” reading about it…we’re going to take that opportunity and run with it, you know?

As much as we do enjoy homeschool travel, we also have to make sure we’re able to do it on a budget. Saving money while traveling does NOT mean any less fun or learning…it just means there’s more opportunity for traveling in the future!

I am the self-proclaimed travel agent in our family, so I’ve figured out a few ways to make travel budget friendly while still allowing for plenty of memory-making experiences. These suggestions are super easy and I’m pretty sure you’ll appreciate saving a few bucks on your next homeschool travel trip!

Two young boys wheeling luggage through a hotel parking lot
I have some of the best travel companions! They’re so helpful!

Tip #1: Plan Ahead for Meals

Eating meals while traveling can get expensive fast! For a family of four, we could easily spend at least $25 for a fast food breakfast and $35 for sandwiches at lunch. Don’t even get me started on snacks! When traveling, I try to keep our meals similar to what we’d eat at home and I do this for two reasons: 1 – it helps to save some money, and 2 – it helps to keep things as…um…”regular” as possible (if you catch my drift!).

Whether we’re traveling by car or plane, planning ahead for budget-friendly meals is certainly possible. For breakfast, you can pack a few boxes of granola bars or even packets of instant oatmeal. If your hotel has a refrigerator, you could bring boxes of cereal and purchase milk when you’ve reached your destination. You might have to think outside the box, but, in my opinion, it’s totally worth it.

image of pre-mixed peanut butter and jelly jars as an example of a way to save money on homeschool travel
Pack a loaf of bread and a jar of pre-mixed peanut butter & jelly and you’ve got yourself some budget friendly meals on the go!

When planning our homeschool field trip to Baltimore, I didn’t think our hotel had a mini-fridge (turns out that it did, but didn’t list it in hotel amenities). I typically would’ve brought a bag of rolls and supplies to make lunchmeat sandwiches, but, because I thought I wouldn’t have access to refrigeration, I opted to bring a loaf of bread and a containers of pre-mixed peanut butter and jelly instead. It’s available at most grocery stores and, *bonus* does not require refrigeration like typical jelly does!

For snacks, I like to pack a variety of foods my kids enjoy like goldfish, dried mango (out of the ordinary, yes, but I like to have healthier options!), or packs of animal crackers. We will splurge for a special treat here or there but, for the most part, we do save a lot of money by bringing snacks.

As you’re eating your meals and snacks, you’ll want something to drink, too! We LOVE bringing these Brita Water Bottles on our outings because they come with filters for water. No need to spend money on single-use bottles of water!

You could also plan ahead for dinners. Most hotels do have microwaves, so you could bring microwaveable meals. In our case, though, we do treat ourselves to meals out for dinner. Meals don’t have to be fancy or expensive but, since we don’t regularly eat out a lot anyways, we do try to enjoy dinner at a restaurant while on vacation.

5 ways to make homeschool travel budget friendly from That Homeschool Family!

Tip #2: Take Advantage of Special Offers

I am ALL about checking online for coupons. Whether I’m planning for homeschool travel, visiting a local attraction, or even buying a new pair of sneakers…if there’s a way to save a few bucks, I’m there.

When scheduling homeschool field trips and such, I tend to get the best deals by checking the following resources:

  • Groupon
    • keep an eye on their limited time coupons!
  • Facebook Pages & Instagram Feeds for the attractions you’ve chosen
    • you could even look through the history of their posts to see if they’ve typically offered past savings around the time you’re planning on taking your trip
  • Attraction websites
    • if possible, sign up for their e-newsletters ahead of time so, if there’s a special offer available, you’re one of the first to find out
  • Rakuten
    • you can often earn rebates by purchasing through Rakuten in addition to saving money using their coupons
  • Fetch
    • earn gift cards and other rewards when you scan receipts from your purchases
  • Credit Card Offers
    • it won’t necessarily be an immediate savings, but many credit cards will offer seasonal offers for percentage back on travel, hotels, etc.
  • ASK!
    • if you don’t see any special offers available, just ask! Some locations may have special offers for homeschooling families or for educational purposes. It’s not a guaranteed savings, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • Every Kid Outdoors Pass
    • if one of your kids is in the 4th grade (or, age-wise would be in 4th grade), sign them up for the National Parks 4th grade pass! If you’ll be traveling near a national park, this pass will get you free entry!
Two young boys standing in front of the Maryland Science Center on an overcast day.
Take advantage of those dreary winter days!

Tip #3: Travel Off Season

Now, this suggestion won’t work for every travel destination, but if you can visit a location during the off season, it could make for some nice savings! When we went to Baltimore, we went towards the end of February. We weren’t able to do some of the outdoor attractions, but we were able to take advantage of some special winter pricing on attractions and the attractions weren’t very crowded.

In addition to saving on attraction tickets, lodging accommodations and air travel tend to be less expensive during off seasons!

Mom and two sons at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland
Definitely take advantage of the National Parks 4th grade pass if your kids qualify! Here we are at the entrance to the Fort McHenry barracks in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tip #4: Use Memberships to Their Fullest

Since you’re a homeschooling parent, I’m willing to bet you have at least one membership to a local museum! Well, when you’re trying to make travel budget friendly, those museum memberships are going to come in handy. Many museums across the world offer reciprocal benefits, so definitely check your membership benefits to see if you can use your pre-existing membership while on your homeschool vacation.

In addition to having museum memberships, I’m betting you have a membership to at least one local library, too, right?! These days, libraries tend to offer so much more than “just” the opportunity to borrow books. Our library, for example, has a lending library where we can borrow various electronics, puzzles and…drum roll, please…passes to local attractions. Put those library cards to use and see if you can use any of their passes while on your vacation.

You might even consider getting a library card to a non-local library because, in some cases, the cost of a membership could be less than the cost of attraction tickets. Just a thought!

That Homeschool Family enjoying "The Kitchen Sink" dessert at Walt Disney World.
Saving on travel allows us to splurge sometimes! Have you had “The Kitchen Sink” on your Disney World vacation? It’s AMAZING!

Tip #5: Consider Alternative Lodging

Just because you’re going on a homeschool trip doesn’t mean that you need to stay in a hotel. If you’re traveling to an area where friends or family live, consider asking to stay the night with them. You could also consider booking an Air B&B or even camping out for the night if you have/can rent an RV or are open to “roughing it” in a tent or cabin. (Fun fact: I think it would be AWESOME to have an RV one day!)

This is just the start of ways you can make travel budget friendly! Where there’s a will, there’s a way am I right? I hope these suggestions have helped to get the savings wheels turning for your next homeschool travel experience and, if you have any other suggestions for saving money while traveling, definitely leave a comment!

Until next time, stay safe & enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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